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Home Education Laws?

(18 Posts)
chatterbocs Fri 06-Feb-09 16:01:52

Hi ,as some of you know, I had a Home Visit from the LA the other day. While the visit went quite well I did feel a litle uncomfortable with the questions aimed at my children & myself and felt to some degree they were being grilled.
By the wording that they used, they indicated that we had to do so many hrs a week, test to assess their progress & how much work we do compared to school.
I know we don't have to do X amount of hrs a week, follow the curriculum or do any tests, but does anyone know where it says this and the intracacies of the laws?
The only stuff I've found so far, is on this site.
Is this basically all the law says or is there more?

julienoshoes Fri 06-Feb-09 16:45:56

There is no defintion of how many hours a week that you have to home educate for. You do have to provide a full time education but no defintion of what full time actually means in hours.
Any LA bod worth his salt would know that with home ed, it doesn't start and doesn't stop! The children are getting an education all the hours they are awake.
So therefore I would say that I home educate them 25+hours a week-that is certainly what I wrote on the form to keep getting the Child Benefit.
In the home ed review it is talking about 20 hours a week-but then when they are at FE college and claiming EMA it has to be 13 hours a week or more.

As for the rest? Tis Bull I'm afraid.
No surprise there then. Another LA making it up.
It shows up another LA that doesn't understand/refuses to accept home education law and shows no understanding of the different ways there are to home educate.

We have never tested the children. Not once.
Not for progress, nor to see how much work they do-in fact they didn't do any 'work' at all. Well not until they chose to do A levels or OU courses that is.

The responsibilities as detailed on the website you show, are it.

Have a read of the Elective Home Education ;Guidelines for Local Authorities. Easy enough to read and it is from the DCFS, spelling out the laws and responsibilities for LAs regarding home education.
See section 3.13 for what it says about hours and also for other things we are not required to do.

I would strongly suggest that, whether or not you continue to have home visits, get your 'educational philosophy' written out.
Under the ECHR, we have the right to educate our children according to our religion or philosophy.
An 'ed phil' sets out your beliefs and values and states what you want for your child as he/she grows up.
The LA are then required to decide whether the education you are providing is suitable and efficient according to your 'ed phil' rather than to someone else's usually school based ideals.

does that help?

AMumInScotland Fri 06-Feb-09 16:48:49

Hi chatterbox - I've just bumped up the thread on "websites about home education" for you. The main organisations on there all have sections about the legal side, which will confirm what the law is. You're right that you don't have to do a set number of hours, or have any tests.

It's up to you whether you want to have home visits or not - but if you do have them, its always worth being clear of the law, as that will stop them being able to cinfuse you into agreeing to anything just because they pressure you.


chatterbocs Fri 06-Feb-09 17:49:26

Hi again, thank for your replies.
The guidelines on our local LA clearly state set hours as follows.
When deciding how much time to devote to your child’s education you may find it helpful
to know that the Department for Education and Skills recommends the following weekly
teaching hours:
• 21 hours for 5-7 year olds
• 23.5 hours for 8-11 year olds
• 24 hours for 12-16 year olds
What would you say if they brought these up on further visits.
I would like to get a philosophie together but have no idea where to start.
What kind of things do you write in them & how often do you send 1?

Kayteee Fri 06-Feb-09 20:17:26

Sorry Chatterbocs but that's utter rubbish.

I don't mean what you are saying but what the so-called guidelines from LA are suggesting. That's one reason I was saying to you, on the other thread, it's much easier to get them to put everything in writing. This is because you can challenge them to quote (formally) to you, WHERE in the Education Act it states that you have to abide by ANY such rules. They don't like being asked to put that on paper because they know they are acting "ulta vires" and they won't want written proof that they are misinforming you (which they sodding well are) angry

I really would write and ask that they provide you with this and specifically ask that they mention the actual Sections of the Ed Act which they are talking about. I guarantee you they will either not reply or, if they do, will not be able to answer you. In which case you write back and insist they show you which section of the law...blah blah and so on. This will wear them down and you can even say that you've taken legal advise and you're now very concerned that they are misinforming you.

Meanwhile this gives you time to find out more about how you want to present your Ed Phil.

Sorry to rant but this really gets to me. HomeEd is our legal right and we have a legal right to educate our kids in any way we choose. Some LAs unfortunately try to bully people into thinking we have to do it their way.

DS2's Dad works for DCFS and he knows the Ed Act (as do I) inside out. At NO point in that Law does it state that HomeEdders have to educate in any way like a school does. We are legally entitled to study, play, go on outings, relax, read, watch telly, go swimming, play computers games, etc; whenever we flippin well please. It's OUR choice, not LAs!!

Please look on Education Otherwise site for good examples of Ed Phils, it will give you some great ideas.

Right, apologies for the rant but these lies that LAs spout make me spit feathers.

<pours glass of wine...thank Gawd it's Friday>

Kayteee Fri 06-Feb-09 20:24:23

Kayteee Fri 06-Feb-09 20:29:15

You can email me on phillip104 at live dot co dot uk if you like and I'll email you mine if it's any help.

AMumInScotland Fri 06-Feb-09 20:42:38

Like Kaytee, I would suggest that you ask them to show you exactly where those times are given. I guess, since a few councils seem to be quoting them, that they must come from somewhere, but I suspect they are for school education and were never intended to relate to HE. If your LA can show you the relevant section of the law, you'll be able quite easily to point out that it's in an area about schools, not HE.

onefunkymama Fri 06-Feb-09 20:45:06

I'd just like to add that schools probably don't actually 'teach' the children for all that the time they are at school. There's quite a lot of registering, faffing about, going to the loo etc to be done any school day so I'd question these hours for school as well a HE. Our two are structured HE and do around 3-4 hours 'work' a day, they could not cope with any more because one to one is far more intense than classroom learning...

Kayteee Fri 06-Feb-09 20:57:13

you read my mind. I found this which I just dug out from a while ago.

If you work out the number of hours a
child is in school, times it by 5 days, then 38 weeks, then divide by 365
days that works out only 2 hours 36 minutes a day of education - something
that can easily be achieved by many working parents as long as both parents
and child are prepared to work at hours outside the school 'norm'

You also need to consider that the 'hours at school' include assembly, taking
the register, getting changed (and changed back) for PE, break time, lunch time,
distraction time (teacher coping with interruptions of all sorts) AND moving
around the school between classrooms.... And that doesn't even begin to cover
the teachers who are absent, so they get a supply teacher or assistant in who
doesn't know what level to pitch the lesson!

julienoshoes Fri 06-Feb-09 21:37:21

I know how you feel, the first time I came to write our philosophy I was very daunted by the whole idea!

The link I posted for you before on Ed Phils will walk you through all you need to know. There is also a page of example Ed Phils here The idea is that they will give you some idea of the different ways to structure one and the direction you might like to take.

What I did was to stick a couple of A4 pages on the notice board.
On one I wrote down a note of all the educational visits/workshops/projects/social activities we did/had done.
On the other I jotted down thought about why we home ed/relevant quotes I wanted to include/aims of our education.
[My favourite quote was "When my wife and I began, we had one main idea … to make the school fit the child instead of making the child fit the school."
(A.S. Neil, 1937)]

I just added things as I thought of them over a week or so.

That gave me the pegs to hang our philosophy on if you see what I mean-and it wasn't nearly so daunting when I came to write it.

The Philosophy now stays on the desktop of my PC.
As the year goes by, I add new activities/workshops/visits/projects and delete things that are no longer relevant.
I also have a shorter list of resources-and these usually stay the same, but we add things as we acquire them.

Then once a year the LA asks for an update and I send it. They get the same philosophy each year and an updated list of the things we have done and a list of resources.
That is all we have ever done for the last eight years and the LA declares themselves satisfied.

And about the claptrap about the hours-I agree with the others, I'd ask for chapter and verse of where in law it says you must do that.

They simply won't be able to answer.

chatterbocs Fri 06-Feb-09 21:42:50

Thanks Kaytee sent you mail.

chatterbocs Fri 06-Feb-09 21:47:11

Thanks Julie, that's great. Is it just once a year then?
The visit the other day was the 2nd in 6 months & would like to come again in July.

AMumInScotland Fri 06-Feb-09 21:54:40

Legally, you don't have to agree to visits at all. I reckon even if you do have them, once a year ought to be plenty to give them an update on what you're doing. Which is supposedly what the meeting (or other contact if you don't want to meet with them) is meant to provide them.

chatterbocs Fri 06-Feb-09 22:03:04

Guid eenin! No, I know don't have to have a visit, but my reasoning was to just play the game & it'll keep 'em off my back, but it has just resulted in antagonising me!

julienoshoes Fri 06-Feb-09 23:33:37

Yes some families are happy to have home visits, but so often, the LA comes along, says stuff that is just wrong/grills children etc, it does put folks backs up.
And then they wonder why the parents then choose not to have a home visit anymore..........

It would be so much better if they offered accurate information/support where it is requested....and maybe a drop in session where a home educator could come along and ask for help/support/info................oh yes Milton Keynes apparently does just that sort of thing-and guess what, they have a good relationship with local home educators and see more of them!

chatterbocs Mon 09-Feb-09 11:48:20

Since you've never had visits, do you not find that they pester you more?

julienoshoes Mon 09-Feb-09 13:37:30

No they don't pester me at all.
They request an update each year and I send it.

But it does seem to depend on the LA you come under, as you will read from some of the other threads, some LAs have to be reminded of the law we need to keep rather than their interpretation of the law, which sadly can be very different things.

Which LA do you come under?

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